Why Pay $600 For Driver Education?

In a recent article in the Toronto Star (June ’09), experts were quoted analyzing the professionalism and success rates of driver schools according to price.  Not surprisingly, from the Car Control School and Toronto Star “Wheels” contributor Ian Law, to MTO trainers and even  veteran drivetest examiners, the better the school’s success rate depended on the price of the course, within a medium of the many schools polled,  charging above and below the boundary of $600.00 .

Whereas the cheaper schools surveyed tended to have an “end-load” whereby students would typically fail the road test repeatedly (adding huge frustration, months of waiting, and about $200 per road test) billings back to the student, or perhaps a mid-range professional driver training school charging slightly more than the $600, were compared.  Not surprisingly, those schools in the upper range saved their client’s frustrations, and ultimately more money in the end, by better training for the road tests, not to mention, better training for the real world of driving.  Studies point out that by making something like driver education cheap, it spells a recipe for disaster!

Recently, at the Aurora test center , I came upon  3 driving instructors whom were watching their sad-faced students emerge from failed road test exams.  While conversing to each other, gleefully , “now we will finally get to make some money”, these instructors rejoiced in the misfortunes of these  teenagers’ misfortunes.  I honestly couldn’t believe what I was witnessing!  Now the student’s hopes were dashed, not to mention a new lack of confidence and second-guessing about their driving abilities immediately crept into their collective psyche.  Indecision within the action of driving could prove fatal for those whom sought to go cheap on their driver ed. Beware of the “End-Load” philosophy by paying less for driver ed, it neither saves time nor money.

Then there’s the high school driving program.  At the typically priced $549 public board price, parents assume their getting a good deal at the local high school.  Little do they realize their son’s and daughter’s must sit through 3-4 hours driver ed after going to school all day long.

Unfortunately, they typically tend to fool around with their friends instead of paying attention to the valuable and potentially life-saving lessons.  The in-car portion of the program,  forces them to not only drive 10 hours behind the wheel, but to sit there  an additional 10-hours while their mandatory driving partner also drives for 10 hours. This 20-hour experiment is called “observation time”.  Students call it “texting time” to mitigate the boredom. Even though the high school driver ed provides cars, no students, according to all board policy, must get dropped off, nor pick-up from home.  If the unassuming student were to book an early morning lesson on the weekend, little do they realize they must first walk or transport themselves back to the high school, then get similar transport back home after their driving lesson. How ridiculous!  Did I mention the parents sign up their offspring without any graduation?

Board of ed contracts don’t stipulate any road test for the license within their program, so once again, you’re at the mercy of whatever the driving school prices dictate, or the parents must navigate an already overloaded and complex method of booking the road tests for themselves, then take a day off work, and loose pay to take  their teenagers to some remote location for a road test!  Why would you pay and sign up for something you don’t graduate from?

Cheap driving schools have 3 students in the car.  They omit highway driving.  No such training for high-speed lane-changing , large left turns, and potentially dangerous manoeuvers in city traffic.  Good driving schools (above the $600 range), practice test manoeuvers ad finitum. Typically 30-50 times the students will practice the test-saving 3-point turn, parallel parking, hill parking , and reverse perpendicular parking, within the scope of the normal 10, one-hour lesson packages.  Ultra expensive courses may also have little merit.  From a nationally recognized driving school their slogan should read, “how many extra lessons did you need to pass the test?” (also at an additionally exorbitant price!).  They also charge the most, and it is indeed a myth that you save more on insurance than other lessor-priced companies.

A good driving school need not badger you with extra lessons, if the student and if the parent/guardian take it upon themselves to practice at least one-hour per week in addition to driver ed, the Formula works perfectly for success.

A Formula 1 Driving School in Vaughan is such a  driving school.  Besides it’s frank honesty, which is refreshing, they boost a 98% success rate of first-time applicants for the G2 and G category tests.  Mr. Jeffrey Pope, the company’s founder suggests that driver ed be made easy by following simple coaching from his instructors.  Offering both male and female instructors, for over 21 years his company teaches in both automatic and manual transmission vehicles.  ” Cheaper is definitely not better”, he insists.  “By choosing the best driver ed you can possibly afford, you’re going to save both time and money in the long run.  The cheaper priced companies either cheat the customer, or cut back on essential training that certainly proves invaluable in a test, or real-life situation.

A Formula 1 Driving School is renowned for meeting the student’s’ particular needs and for doing things right the first time around.  Too many companies both shatter the students’ confidence, or potential to become a great driver.  Mr. Pope refers to this phenomenon as “Soul Destroying”.  Driving is an art that we should practice every day to get better.   Truly, the Formula 1 World Champion is only great tomorrow, because he is, right now, practicing on some exotic racetrack somewhere in the far reaches of the world.  So what does that tell us about about our own abilities?  Like an old adage , it’s still true for driving, “Practice makes Perfect”.  A Formula 1 Driving School has been rated in the top 12 in Ontario.